Tag Archive for Academic publishing

Getting the most out of social media – Facebook

Social media is still a relatively young technology in the context of scholarly communications, with many organisations still trying to find the right way to maximise the strengths of the most popular networks. If you’re still finding your way in social media, there are a few simple – yet often overlooked – tactics that can make the difference between making a conversation spark or fizzle.

 

Facebook’s immense popularity – with roughly one in seven people worldwide maintaining a profile – means that it’s often the first port of call when building a social media strategy. But are you making the most of your followers’ connection with your brand?

 

One of the defining factors of Facebook is that, in most cases, people tend to use the site as a respite from professional life. That’s not to say that content aimed at ‘the day job’ doesn’t gain traction, as there are countless journals and learned societies that do a great job of engaging their audience through Facebook. Rather, it’s a question of choosing the right stories to feature.

Put simply, the content on Facebook that gets the most traction is that which generates an emotional reaction, whether that’s a gasp of admiration, laughter at a punch line, or a grin of acknowledgement as people interact with a story that impresses them. Announcing the publication of a new journal issue might not get those reactions from your followers, but putting a spotlight on a ground-breaking article, challenging opinion, or thoughtful editorial piece within tends to increase re-posts and comments – extending that post’s reach beyond direct followers. (Unsurprisingly, posts relating to serious society/company business – aside from conferences and other events – tend to generate significantly fewer interactions.)

 

Tone of voice is also an important consideration. All too many organizations use the same uniform tone across all communication channels, but the personal touch is far more appropriate in social media. Whereas a brochure or email campaign might need to speak for your organization as a whole, keeping a light-hearted, conversational tone in Facebook posts will make them feel less like a one-way broadcast and more like part of a conversation – which is the precise strength of social media. Don’t be afraid to add some personality to your organisation’s Facebook posts!

 

If your social media strategy needs a further boost, TBI can help with anything from communications audits to staff training. Melinda and Charlie have also written about how to integrate social media in a campaign communications mix to achieve optimum results.

What gamification means for your audience

Increasing audience engagement is a perennial challenge for societies and publishers. An invested audience is more likely to cite a work or renew their membership dues, but with people’s time fragmented by a seemingly endless number of information sources, it can be harder to capture their attention with your content or increase their involvement in society activities.

Gamification, the process of using game design theory and tools to engage your audience and address everyday problems, is an approach that’s ideally suited to building audience investment. A generation of new customers and staff have grown up hand-in-hand with electronic entertainment that speaks directly to what motivates us, providing feedback on progress and challenging them to reach that next milestone. And from social to mobile, the way we interact with the web makes introducing those familiar elements into business and consumer contexts ever more relevant.

Gamification has been applied in a wide variety of scenarios, from health and fitness community Fitocracy, to productivity applications such work.com from Salesforce. Consumer brands like Nike have embraced gamification with the Nike+ initiative, and it’s even being used to motivate self-directed learning through the Kahn Academy. The success of gamification methods such as these has led analysts to predict that 70% of the world’s top businesses will be managing at least one gamified platform by 2014.

Getting gamification right requires a deep understanding of why and how your audience is engaging with a system, process or community. It’s not as simple as simply bolting on a points leaderboard or a badge system – for gamification to work in the longer term, it needs to be designed to complement the underlying task or system, hence incentive models such as LinkedIn which drive you towards an ever-more complete profile, or the coding Q&A community Stack Overflow, which awards engaged users with both special profile badges and access to additional features on the website.

Gamification is an exciting area that fascinates us here at TBI. We’ll be talking through some of our experiences of how it can benefit learned societies and scholarly publishers in a forthcoming TBI Masterclass – you can register here.

Why don’t publishers prioritize digital influence?

Why don’t publishers prioritize digital influence?

In TBI’s recent Heatmaps survey, we were a little surprised to find that advocacy and digital influence campaigns were scored as a relatively low priority by publishers for 2013. It’s a very hot topic in consumer marketing circles, so why do we not seem to be giving it much attention in academic publishing?

Here’s why we think advocacy and digital influence should be on your priority list:

  • Because people value personal recommendations more than they do organizational ones
  • The emergence of social media and altmetrics makes it easier to identify influential members of our communities and give them advocating tools
  • Digital has the power to dramatically amplify influence, so engaging with influential members of the communities that we serve is becoming a critically important part of marketing strategy

It’s about achieving the perfect mix of the right influencers, with the right conversation in the right place at the right time – see Melinda’s article for more advice on how to put together a digital engagement plan. TBI is also running a webinar about digital influence and advocacy marketing.